WANDA’S MONSTER

A wonderfully insouciant approach to taking care of those pesky critters that lurk in closets. When Wanda cowers in fear of the monster she’s sure inhabits her closet, her family tries the traditional methods of allaying her fears. Yet Dad shines a light inside, Mom does a thorough cleaning, and her older brother scoffs at her concerns, to no avail. It’s Granny who helps Wanda see things in a different light. Granny believes there just might be a monster hiding inside Wanda’s closet and she cautions her to feel sympathy instead of fear for the poor little guy; after all, she reveals, monsters are notoriously shy. Granny’s unique perspective enables Wanda to overcome her worries. Soon she’s tossing toys, pillows, and other creature comforts into the closet for her resident monster. When it’s time for the monster to move on—Granny advises they only stay for 17 days—Wanda is ready, too. Spinelli (Here Comes the Year, p. 265, etc.) addresses a common childhood dilemma with panache and wit. Fearful closet-phobes will soon be longing for a monster of their own to pamper. Hayashi’s (What Did You Do Today, p. 486, etc.) watercolor-and-pencil illustrations strike just the right balance between pragmatism and whimsy. Vibrantly colored vignettes depicting familiar domestic scenes are juxtaposed with delightfully quirky depictions of a purple, horned, long-nosed, and rather pitiful-looking monster sequestered in the closet. A must for chasing away those nighttime jitters with a hearty dose of giggles. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8075-8656-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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